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Brodeur returns to practice

Possible for Saturday's game in Carolina

Thursday, 02.17.2011 / 3:56 PM ET / News
By Eric Marin
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Brodeur returns to practice
Brodeur won't rush progress on his knee sprain.
Martin Brodeur was back at practice Thursday, but will not play Friday when the Devils host the Rangers.

Brodeur, who has missed four games with a knee sprain, didn’t rule out Saturday’s contest in Carolina. He’s happy with the progress he’s made, though he plans on taking a cautious approach.

“I think when you’re working on injury, especially for a goalie with the knees and stuff, groins and all that stuff, you almost have to be a little selfish because you have to make sure that you can’t re-injure yourself,” Brodeur said. “That’s my only concern: go in too early and hurt myself again. Next thing you know, the step back’s even longer.”

He reported no concerns about his mobility.

“I’ve been skating for a few days, so I know that shouldn’t be an issue,” he said. "It’s the reflex and reaction that I was looking for more, and me being able to get there and do things. It was good. I didn’t do much in practice, it was mostly afterwards.”

Brodeur is 8-1-1 in his last 10 starts. He was hurt in the first period of the Devils’ 4-1 win in Montreal on Feb. 6.

In his absence, the Devils (23-30-4) have continued their surge. They won their fifth in a row by beating Carolina 3-2 on Wednesday.

Johan Hedberg made 25 saves to pick up his 10th victory as New Jersey improved to 13-1-2 in the second half.

“It’s been great, just to see the guys’ faces, guys’ attitudes,” Brodeur said. “I think it’s been a lot of fun, and I think regardless of what happens from now on, we’ve got our game back and we’ve got the fun in the game back. That’s what we were looking for when we were struggling to try and get to that atmosphere. We’ve done it and we’ll try to build on this and keep it going because this is something that’s a great opportunity for us to do something pretty cool.”

The Devils trail the eighth-place Hurricanes by 12 points with 25 games remaining. A playoff spot would be a dream finish to a regular season in which they were once 19 games under .500.

“It will be if we’re able to get it done,” Brodeur said. “Now it’s just part of what we do. It’s part of what I think Jacques [Lemaire] has been building for the last couple of months. We can’t get overexcited about this. The Islanders are one point behind, Ottawa’s [five] points behind. We’re still 12 points out. It’s not a dream situation, but I think it’s fun to be part of something like a roll. We’ve rolled the other side, and trust me, it’s not fun.”

Carolina hosts the Flyers on Friday. By the time the Devils reach Raleigh, they could have a shot at dropping the deficit to eight points. Fortunately, Hedberg has been playing so well that Brodeur won’t need to rush himself back.

“We need to win games and he’s playing well now,” said Brodeur. “For me it’s a matter of getting myself ready, and when I’m called upon, go and try to do the job.”